Posted by: canthold | March 9, 2006

Tape It Up

I went to my daughter’s school for parent-teacher conferences today. While I was waiting for my appointment, I walked around the room looking at the kid-things that adorned the walls and tables. I found a cart of books, picked one up and started reading.

The book was called Ish by Peter H Reynolds. It was about a boy who loved to draw until his brother made fun of his art. Later when the boy drew pictures, he didn’t like what he saw. He crumpled up the pages and threw them away. I had to stop reading right after the boy discovered that his sister had systematically retreived all of his crumpled art and taped it to her wall. The title comes from the fact that the picture didn’t look like a house, but house-ish. I didn’t finish reading, but it brought tears to my eyes at that point. I cried because the sister just loved him for who he was and what someone else might not have liked was beautiful to her.

A few weeks ago, I took my older daughter to the nearby school to ride her bike. It’s a bright pink Barbie bike with training wheels and streamers dangling from the ends of the handle bars. She was wearing her pink bicycle helmet and a pink sweater with a fur collar. She was so beautiful.

I watched her ride around that playground like she owned the place. She was so unself-conscious about what she was doing or what she looked like that I was in awe. I have so many memories of wanting to wear what I was supposed to wear or wondering what other people were thinking of me when I was growing up that I don’t remember that kind of confidence. I never liked being around older kids because I was afraid they would make fun of me or something. My daughter lacked all of these fears. I was so proud of her.

I don’t know if she’ll be able to keep her confidence forever, but I certainly hope so. It was as beautiful to watch as her cherubic little face and unadulterated pride in riding that bike. I loathe the possibility that someone will come along and make her want to crumple up her choices for her clothing style or make her feel that she doesn’t belong somewhere. I intend to do my best to tape her choices to the wall to show her that I think that what she’s doing is great.


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